Can Erzincan TV opens doors to Bugun TV, Kanalturk in show of solidarity

The editor of 140journos, a new social media platform, has said the need for citizen reporters has emerged because of the difficult situation for journalism in Turkey, which is under increasing government pressure.
When state-appointed trustees were sent to take over operations at the ipek Media Group right before Turkeyand’s Nov. 1 election, the country — and of course the media group — witnessed events unlike any it had seen before. At a publications meeting called by the newly appointed trustees, journalists who voiced protests were fired one by one. On the streets outside the media group building, headscarved women reading the Quran protested against the government intervention into the media this too was a new kind of protest.
While the Turkish mainstream media did not offer any detailed coverage of these events, social media provided a window into what was happening. One journalist inside the ipek Media Group building used his mobile phone to record the tense editorial meeting where journalists were being fired the images were uploaded live to the Internet site Periscope. Once again, Turkey witnessed social media becoming an effective platform for those unable to make their voices heard in the mainstream media.
The new level of pressure against the media in Turkey heralds an era when citizen journalists and their work — which is accessible on social media — is going to be more important than ever. The Internet news platform 140journos is an example of this.
Todayand’s Zaman spoke with 140journos Editor Engin andOnder about this alternative media site, asking him how they are able to capture the voices that mainstream media seems unable to these days.
h2 andlsquoState of journalism in Turkey led to our riseand’h2 The and”140and” part of the siteand’s name comes from the fact that the team at the site began this work with a Twitter-based approach. (Twitter limits its users to just 140 characters.) andOnder remarks, laughing: and”Apart from real journalists, anyone can join our team. Our ranks include international relations students, people studying law, political science, aertisingandhellip but no journalists.and”
This is because the aim of 140journos is to differentiate itself from the widespread approach to journalism these days in Turkey. and”What led to our rise was that journalism in Turkey was undergoing so much pressure otherwise, we might never have had to get involved with the media. Turkey has become an incredibly polarized country, a country where people are divided into camps,and” andOnder explains.
He added: and”We have a mission here: to be able to live together. We want to see a climate in which everyone can share their pain or their joy, but without delving into partisanship. We need a neutral language for this. This is what weand’re trying to do. And we know that when we make this possible, we will be able to communicate with everyone.and”
h2 Platform for AK Party supporters as well as disgruntled journalistsh2 When Todayand’s Zaman asked andOnder how 140journos is able to carry out this feat of objectivity, he replied: and”Right after the [Justice and Development Party] AKP won this last round of elections, a citizen from Rize sent in images from a victory tour he took in his car that night. We put that up on our site. At the same time, we put up photographs of documents detailing the cancelation of the work contracts of 12 journalists at the ipek Media Group.
andquotAnd in terms of the diversity of what we offer, you can also find news about people from Hakkari who headed up into the mountains to try to act as human shields against a state operation there, or about a farmer in Thrace whose entire harvest has been ruined.
andquotFor those who donand’t know about this site, at 140journos the relationship between those sending in the news and the team here is not like some classic institution-reporter relationship. People who want to use this platform send in their news stories to the editors here at 140journos.
andquotSo, for example, those images of the electoral victory tour in Rize were not sent in by some third person, but by the guy who shot them. Or the images from the ipek Media Group: A bunch of these were sent in from someone who works at the Bugandun newspaper. So the person sending in the images is motivated already. There is no need for some editor somewhere to motivate that person. The reporter at Bugandun sends in this stuff because he wants people to know exactly whatand’s going on there. What we want to do is use good communication skills to get out news about different topics to different factions.and”
h2 People use WhatsApp to send in newsh2 While 140journos technically began as a Twitter-based creation, it now uses every type of social media imaginable, including WhatsApp. The team at 140journos is even surprised by the close ties people seem to have with a news platform. The logo for 140journos is a bird, and andOnder says this is because and”this is a bird with friends all over Turkey. And this bird takes birdand’s eye photos all over the country.and”
h2 andlsquoExtremist groups donand’t really like usand’h2 Things tend to change and shift so rapidly in Turkey that simply keeping up is not always possible. We asked andOnder if there have been any particular unforgettable moments since the conception of 140journos, back in 2012. He replies: and”I think it was two Ramadans ago. It was a Saturday, and the news pouring in on that day surprised even us. We had a 12 p.m. protest by the Saturday Mothers group in Taksim. Then somewhere else we had a andlsquosilent screamand’ march protest by some nationalists. Then in front of the Istanbul Courthouse the relatives of the arrested Yurt Atayandun had gathered to protest.
andquotSo in two hours, we had coverage pouring in from three completely different factions of society, which of course allowed these groups to witness each otherand’s pain as well. And we shared all of these images and stories. I cannot forget that day. Itand’s definitely something you donand’t see in mainstream media.and”
When asked whether this much objectivity elicits perhaps antipathy as much as it does sympathy in him and his team, andOnder responded: and”Well, extremist groups that feed off violence donand’t really like us. But the fact that they donand’t like us doesnand’t make us give up on our language of neutrality.and”
andOnder asserts that even abroad, there are no reporters as neutral as those at 140journos manage to be. He adds that the model of citizen journalism used at 140journos is lacking in the world he also adds that the site is intent on increasing the level of sensitivity it already shows to sharing news from all across the board, and its connections to popular culture.
140journos is careful to lighten some of the news with jokes, but without altering content while doing so. One example was reporting about the takeover of the ipek Media Group, provided with background music from a series from Samanyolu TV. andOnder explains: and”This was related to something that got joked about a lot on social media — the names in Samanyolu TV series that were made up of some five to six words.
andquotWe used this joke. We have this 30-second image of the takeover, but no jokes at all in the news text. Then, with the music playing at the same time, we wrote a long name: andlsquoThe police intervention against the crowd gathered to protest in front of the station taken over by the state trustee.and’ So people who donand’t really know about this subject are at least able to find something that gets them up to speed.
andquotWe need to steal about 30 seconds from people. It might be hard to get the message through to someone living in Moda if we were to use the classic sort of andlsquobreaking newsand’ technique, but when we do it like this, we elicit reactions like andlsquowow, there really is some tyranny hereand’ from people.and”
h2 Schools should be made to watch footage of live raidsh2 In the meantime, 140journos has been showing plenty of images and news about the most recent raids on the media in Turkey. and”Itand’s because thereand’s just so much material right now. andhellip And the images are really interesting. The moment when the police busted in and a hand covered up the camera that journalist Tarik Toros was using to film live was unbelievable. You could take that image and show it in schools,and” says andOnder.


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